Your Guide to Choosing Impact Windows or Hurricane Shutters

When you live in an area with catastrophic weather events, it’s important to protect your home. One look at video of homes devasted by storms and hurricanes reveals the danger of not being prepared. Regular windows are no match for hurricane-force winds. And that leaves the entire home vulnerable to broken glass, debris, water damage, and life-threatening danger to loved ones inside. Responsible homeowners understand the importance of protecting windows and the contents inside the home.

Generally, two methods are used with regard to protecting a home’s windows: Adding hurricane shutters or installing impact windows. While they both have the same goal of protecting your home’s vulnerable areas, they go about it in different ways. To the uninitiated they might seem interchangeable. But a close look at each method reveals important differences. And can help you decide which one is right for you. Let’s compare the differences here.

How they work. One look at each method shows just how different they are. Hurricane shutters go over existing windows. They have to be added and removed when you sense inclement weather. Unless you choose pricier shutters that remain on your home at all times, and roll down when necessary. But when they’re on, it’s clear that they’re there to protect the home. Everything is covered. Nobody can see out to check the weather from the protected windows. And the shutters remain in place until you take the time to remove them. And unless they’re attached to the home, they’ll have to be stored somewhere you can access quickly in case you need to put them up.

Impact windows are simply windows that are strong enough to absorb hurricane-force winds, and whatever debris might come through your window as a result. They look like upscale windows and you can see through them as well as regular windows. They don’t require any extra preparation during an extreme weather event and there’s nothing to put away afterward. From the outside they add to your house’s decor, and on the inside you and your family know you’re protected.

Impact windows don’t require much thought when you’re preparing for inclement weather. And since you’ll get a good view of your surroundings the entire time, there’s added peace of mind as well. With nothing to setup or store, your time can be spent on other preparations. And you won’t spend any time on breakdown or storage, either. One they’re installed, it’s done.

Safety. Unless you keep your hurricane shutters on all the time (which would be an unattractive look for your home, as well as rendering your windows inoperable) you won’t get any of their benefits during normal weather. They’re for emergency use only, and don’t add anything to the home until the next time you need them.

But impact windows are always there, even when the weather is good. And even if you’re not worried about a hurricane, your impact windows help keep you safe from other dangers, such as intruders. If a hurricane and its corresponding debris can’t penetrate your windows, neither will a common burglar. And even if they had the specialized tools to do so, the time and noise required is enough of a deterrent to convince someone a criminal to choose another target. Impact windows provide you with built-in protection from someone trying to get into your home, making them a valuable addition even in perfect weather.

Other lifestyle benefits. As mentioned above, hurricane shutters help protect your windows from a hurricane as long as you have them up. When they’re rolled up or in storage, they’re just taking up space and waiting to be used. They offer no other benefits to your home when not in use.

Impact windows, on the other hand, offer other benefits outside of hurricane protection and safety. For example, your impact windows offer up to 99 percent ultraviolet (UV) light protection. That advantage is not only good for your eyes and skin, but for your furniture, art, carpet, and anything else in your house that can get faded and damaged by the sun.

Using impact windows instead of hurricane shutters also offers noise-reduction benefits. Users enjoy a significant sound reduction. So whatever outside noises might interrupt your peace or enjoyment will be mitigated simply by owning these windows. Nothing special action needed; it’s simply one of the qualities inherent in this selection.

Another benefit is energy savings. While a storm shutter has no impact on energy usage whatsoever, impact windows are designed to be energy efficient. By forming a tight, impact-resistant shield to your home, it’s more difficult for air conditioning or heating to escape to the outside. You won’t have to contend with cracks or leaks. And your home will remain cool or hot longer than if you had regular windows installed. You’ll use less energy and spend less money, so even if a hurricane never gets near your home, you’ll still reap the benefits of having impact windows.

Looks. While it’s not the most important issue, there’s no question that having hurricane shutters changes the look of your home. Even if you spend the extra money for the automatic shutters that remain near or on your windows, it’s obvious that you have them. And when they’re in use, it’s even more dramatic. Since you can’t see out of your windows while the shutters are on, if you have the traditional versions you’ll have to remove and store them as soon as possible. They serve a purpose, but they definitely take a toll on your aesthetic and curb appeal.

Impact windows don’t have any of those negatives. They’re beautiful, modern windows that will enhance your home’s beauty and attach no adverse visuals to it.

Extra value. Compared to hurricane shutters, impact windows have a longer life expectancy, normally result in better home insurance discounts, and have a more-positive impact on a home’s value.

Impact windows also come out ahead when it comes to ease of use. As already noted, they don’t require setup or breakdown during a weather event. While that’s a benefit for any living space, it becomes even more important if you have a two-story home, or hard-to-reach windows. In those cases, putting up your storm shutters can be a challenging, time-consuming experience for two people working together, and it occurs right when you have other concerns with dangerous weather on the way.

And after the storm passes, taking them down can also be difficult. The more windows you need to protect, and the more awkwardly they’re placed around your home, the more of a burden the entire process becomes for people with hurricane shutters.

Impact windows don’t require any such setup or breakdown, no matter where they’re located. It’s simply not on the checklist. They’re already deployed for use when you need them, and remain in place throughout the year.

Cost. One area where hurricane shutters seem to come out ahead is cost. They’re cheaper than impact windows to purchase and install. But, like with many things, there’s more to the overall price than the initial layout.

If you replace your windows with regular models, then add hurricane shutters, you end up spending more money than if you had just installed impact windows. You also won’t get the same insurance benefits, curb appeal, or energy savings you’ll realize with impact windows. And to alleviate the hassle of installing, removing, and storing them each time you need them, you’ll need to pay to have them permanently affixed to your home. That extra expense is another factor some people overlook when comparing general costs.

Also, impact windows are not only functional; they’re part of your home’s décor. If and when you decide to make changes to your home’s appearance, you don’t have to worry about spending more on windows. They’re designed to be both functional and beautiful. With hurricane shutters, you’ll always have to work around their inflexible look, or accept that they won’t ever be part of your home’s visual appeal. While this isn’t necessarily the most important factor when it comes to home safety, there’s no denying that a home is a large investment, and one where you’ll spend years (if not decades) of your life. With that in mind, any benefit that won’t detract from your home’s curb appeal is a positive. And if it actually enhances it, that’s a major advantage when deciding how to protect your loved ones and valuables.

Finally, while hurricane shutters can last for years, they require proper maintenance and care. It’s important to clean and operate them a couple times a year. And to check for cracks or any other problem with their deployment. On the other hand, impact windows can last decades with almost no maintenance required. You clean them as you would any other window, and let them do their job.

Which is Right for You?

To determine which home protection path is best, it’s necessary to look at which benefits mean the most to you and your family. Is the added protection from intruders, UV rays, outside sounds and energy leaks afforded by impact windows important to you? Would you benefit from having the protections always in place, offering year-round advantages for decades, along with greater home insurance discounts and a greater appreciation to your home’s value? Do you prefer the convenience of having nothing to setup or remove, or that has any effect on your outside décor?

Putting the up-front costs aside, if the wealth of benefits that come with impact windows are ones that you and your family would appreciate, their convenience and effectiveness in all conditions makes them a preferable option. And over time, you’ll feel increasingly grateful for the value they return as your benefits accumulate: Increased home value, larger home insurance discounts, lower energy bills and additional safety from intruders. Those benefits never go away, and they’re in place regardless of the weather.

And when a severe weather event occurs, everything is already in place, ready to provide the necessary protection with no extra effort required. You’ll feel confident in your windows’ ability to keep the wind, rain and heavy debris from entering your home, even in a hurricane. You’ll also be able to see outside at all times without any loss of security. Add those benefits together, and impact windows are the superior option when available.

Mister Window Specializes in Impact Windows

Fortunately, the best options on the market are available to you whenever you need them. For 45 years, Mister Window has served Florida, both in the best weather conditions and some of the worst. Our customers in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties have access to the most up-to-date advances and technologies associated with impact windows and doors. And our commitment to excellent service, including after the sale, keeps customers loyal, safe, and satisfied.

Mister Window understands that the decision to add impact windows to your home is an important one. You’ll have plenty of questions before, during, and even after the project is completed. And we’ll have the answers you need every step of the way. We’ll walk you through the process from the very beginning. Going over your different options and deciding which one is best for you. You’ll also understand how installation works, and how we’ll prepare your home for it. You’ll also look the work over when we’re done. Making sure you’re satisfied with the end result and fully-knowledgeable with regard to how it benefits you and your family. Finally, we’ll be here if and when you have questions afterward, to ensure that you feel just as good about your decision long after it’s completed as you were the day you made it.

But all that comes later. The first step is a conversation to get information about you and your home, where you live, and what windows need to be protected. Mister Window can then answer any initial questions you might have and schedule a time to meet in person (or virtually) to get into details and explain the entire process. Simply contact us to get started.

Mike Cvetetic

June 5, 2023

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